Saturday, April 18, 2015

No Kiss No Coach

This morning I watched the "Money" episode of Kath and Kim.

Kath (Jane Turner) wants to rent a Cinderella coach for her wedding transportation. The episode is about her trying to raise the money. At the end, she gets close, but she's fifty dollars short.  The guy who owns the wedding transport business tells Kath she can have the coach if she kisses him.  He says, No kiss no coach.  It would be easy to just kiss him and get the coach, but Kath sticks to her principles and runs out.

The episode reminded me of Australian surgeon Gabrielle McMullin. She's the one who said that women should stay silent about the sexual abuse they endure, because speaking out can ruin their careers. 

Just grin and bear it.

Sometimes that's the easy way. I guess. I mean if we define easy as not putting up a fight...maybe McMullin has a point.

But easy isn't always the best path.  

And although accepting unwanted sexual advances might be a career boost; and it might prevent you from having to endure a legal battle, I'm pretty sure the interactions are going to result in some type of damage. And dealing with that damage probably won't be easy.


Here's an article about the problems people can endure from sexual harassment. On their list: depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, high blood pressure, sleep problems, suicide, and neck pain.

I don't think any of those things are easy.

I wonder, though. Are there women who accept the sexual advances, yet do not have problems because of it?  

What if Kath cheerfully kissed the coach guy, got what she wanted, and didn't feel any less about herself or the world? Would we still say she did the wrong thing?

I really don't know what I'd say.

I'm thinking I'd probably say it was her choice, and if she's okay with it; that's her business.

I hesitate a bit, though, because if she says yes, she's making it easier for the guy to do it to the next woman.   

Then again, what if the next woman WANTS to kiss the coach-guy. What if she has a big crush on him?


I guess it wouldn't matter. Whether you find someone attractive or are repulsed by them, no one should be pressured to trade sexual/intimate activity with goods, services, advancement, etc.  

Now I'm thinking it's probably best for all women to say no—stand up for themselves and all other potential victims.  But if a woman does end up saying yes, because that felt like the easiest thing to do, I wouldn't villainize her. I could probably understand where she's coming from.  

Before I end this post, I'm going to get on my soap box and bitch about one of my pet peeves.  I know it might sound a bit far-fetched to some folks. But I think adults forcing young children to kiss and/or hug people they don't want to is quite similar to sexual harassment.  If adults have a right to say no to unwelcome affection, why not children?

Yes, it's awkward when Great Aunt Trudy asks for a kiss, and Mikey pouts and says no.  But I think Mikey has a right to say no. Personally, I think the best thing to do is ask Mikey if he'll wave to Great Aunt Trudy instead.  I think that's much less intrusive.  

I don't think it's wrong to gently ask for a kiss or hug, but preferably only when there's a comfortable and positive relationship between the adult and child. If the adult hardly knows the child or there's been shyness from the child, it's probably best not to ask for that kiss or hug.  And if the child says no or backs away, I strongly believe their answer should be listened to and respected.  Yes, it can be a bit of a sting. But I think mature adults can be gracious about the situation.  

Here's an article talks about these issues...if anyone is curious.